Silva vs. Sonnen 2: UFC Must Turn Intense Rivalry into a Trilogy

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 2012

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After yet another insane showdown that excited the world of mixed martial arts and captivated the sports world, the UFC must find a way to make a third match happen between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen.

Even though Silva won the first fight between the two top middleweight fighters in the world, he was battered and bruised often in the 2010 bout. He was hit just 208 times in his first 11 UFC fights, but Sonnen landed a stunning 289 blows to the Brazilian in their first match.

Sonnen actually won the first four rounds unanimously by judges' decision in that bout. But Silva came out of nowhere to submit Sonnen in Round 5.

Sonnen may have crossed the line with some of his comments in the meantime, but he deserved to gloat a bit after the beating he put on the sport's greatest force.

Saturday's sequel started just like the first began. Sonnen came out like a man possessed and brought Silva to the ground less than 10 seconds into the fight. He had Silva on his back for the entirety of the first round. 

Although, in usual Silva fashion, he took advantage of a slip-and-fall by Sonnen on a spinning blow that missed. He used the rare window of opportunity to pounce on the American to ensue blows that Sonnen wouldn't recover from and would prompt referee Yves Lavigne to break up the fight with a TKO.

No one is arguing that Sonnen was the superior fighter in the octagon Saturday night or that he deserved the win like he suggested after their opening bout. In fact, Sonnen applauded Silva for accepting the rematch and for showcasing yet another impressive performance.

But the unfolding of events between the fighters Saturday night didn't do much to prove that Sonnen is not capable of beating Silva.

With the way that the middleweight division currently looks, Sonnen undoubtedly poses the biggest threat to Silva's championship belt. If "The Spider" ever loses in the octagon, it will most likely be to Sonnen. 

That's not to say that Silva will accept a rematch. He looked stronger, more able and more comfortable than in the 2010 bout while answering questions of the rib injury's impact on the first fight with his bitter rival. He proved he's the best and shouldn't have to rest his case on a third match.

But then again, why does a third match have to be the telling one? If Sonnen wins, isn't Silva still 2-of-3? Does Sonnen have the respect for Silva and the sport to agree that a third fight wouldn't decide the ultimate legacy between the two?

Besides, Silva is 37 and Sonnen is 35. We'd have to assume that a third fight wouldn't be for at least one or two more years, when both mixed martial artists could be too far past their prime to even play. 

Even if they aren't the dominating, young forces that they used to be, a fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen would boom UFC's numbers and would be a breathe of fresh air economically for the sport.

Since the sport lives and dies on pay-per-view numbers, chasing the most sexy matchup is a must for Dana White. And with some of his best men on the edge of their careers, he'll have to do everything he can to ensure that they get back in the ring one last time.